Developing the Northern Territory for events
Last year, business events contributed more than $35 million in delegate expenditure to the Northern Territory economy.
The NT is rolling out the red carpet for the lucrative sector, with a string a new hotels, developments and incentives to grow their share of the pie.
At the forefront is Marriott International’s plan to construct a $200 million hotel in Darwin’s waterfront precinct. The Westin Darwin, scheduled to open in 2020 will be an eight-storey 240-room hotel and will offer easy access for delegates to the nearby Darwin Convention Centre. The property itself will be a significant meetings venue with more than 1,100m2 in conference and events space for groups of all sizes. There will also be three restaurants and a bar within the property.
Before delegates even leave the Darwin International Airport, meeting planners are being enticed with the new Wirraway Business Centre, a conference facility located on the mezzanine floor of the international arrivals area in the terminal. The NT Convention Bureau said the facility covered more than 1,000m2 and had a theatre-style conference room. For smaller groups, there is a 25-seat conference boardroom with video conferencing capabilities. Smaller meeting rooms are also available to rent by the hour, day or week.
A 1,500km drive south of Darwin, at Uluru, new incentive options are coming online for MICE groups. The Longitude 131 luxury lodge re-opened in August, following a multi-million dollar refurbishment with a new Dune Pavillion providing views of Uluru through floor-to-ceiling glass windows. The venue is being positioned as a great spot for sunset drinks and canapes for business events.
Voyages Ayers Rock Resort recently launched a fine dining concept for incentives or small corporate groups at the rock. Called Mayu Wiru, the dinner experience for 16 guests combines a gourmet menu served at the Sails in the Desert resort, which is then followed by a viewing of the Field of Light.